The NPC report Turning the Tables in England, published today, criticises inflexible reporting requirements that force charities to produce bespoke reports for each funder.
"This inevitably leads to duplication of effort," the report says. "Charities are required to collect information that is often not useful to them." It adds that very few funders provide justifications for their requirements.
Only five of 18 organisations in an NPC pilot scheme in Scotland last year were able to produce standard reports. Many funders, particularly in central government, would not accept them.
Phil Hope, Minister for the Third Sector, described the report as "an important step in our programme of work to tackle needless red tape".
Neil Cleeveley, director of policy and communications at umbrella body Navca, said reporting measures had to be proportionate.